Sunday, January 22, 2006

Old Fashioned Pot Roast & variations

Although this takes several hours to cook, it takes very little time to prepare. You could also cook this in a crock pot. Variations of this recipe follow.

1 2-3 lb chuck roast
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1-2 tbl tomato paste
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp rosemary
3-4 tbl olive oil
2-3 tbl flour (optional)
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine (optional)
2 cans beef stock, preferably salt-free or 1 can beef stock & 1 can french onion soup
salt & pepper

Optional vegetables if you want a one pot meal:
3 Idaho potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, sliced lengthwise & halved

Heat oil in dutch oven. Salt and pepper meat and brown it on medium high heat about 5 minutes per side. Remove to plate, reduce heat, and add onions & carrots, sauteing for about 5 minutes. If you want a thick gravy add the flour and cook 3 more minutes. Add tomato paste & garlic and saute 2 more minutes. Add the wine and 1 can of stock stirring and scraping up the brown bits. Season roast with thyme and rosemary and return to pot. Add enough stock or soup to come about halfway up the roast. Add the bay leaf. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed (The stock will reduce so don't add too much now.) Bake,covered in a 350 degree oven for 2 to 3 hours. Check halfway through to make sure there still is plenty of liquid in the pot. If you are cooking the optional veg, add them about 40 minutes before the roast is done. Otherwise, serve this with mashed potatoes.

Italian Pot Roast

Omit thyme & bay
Increase rosemary to 1 tsp
Add 2 tsp basil
Add 1 tsp oregano
Add 1 can chopped or crushed tomatoes
Omit dry vermouth & substitute red wine
Omit optional vegetables

Serve with fusilli tossed with butter and parmesean or polenta or smashed potatoes with garlic.

Mexican Pot Roast or Ropa Vieja

Omit thyme, bay, and rosemary
Add 1/2 tsp oregano
Add 1 tsp cumin
Add 1 can Rotel
Omit optional vegetables

To make Ropa vieja (old clothes), shred the meat before serving.

Serve w/ tortillas, corn, hominy or rice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


This is delicious, and easy, but not quick. Make this when you have some extra time, otherwise make something else.

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
1-4 tbl butter, depending on your diet (you can substitute olive oil)
3-4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmeseano reggiano

In a small saucepan or in a measuring cup in the microwave heat stock until simmering.

Saute onion in butter in heavy sauce pan (one that has a lid) until onion is translucent. Add rice and saute until the rice is opaque, but not browned. If you're using canned chicken stock, just add a pinch of salt, homemade stock can take 1/2 tsp.

Begin adding stock to rice about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring frequently. When one portion of stock is absorbed, add another. (Keep stock simmering or reheat in the microwave) Continue adding stock until rice is creamy and cooked through, but not mushy. Add the parmesean cheese and taste. Add more salt if needed and some fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.
(If you hold this you will need to add more stock or water as it will continue to absorb liquid)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Chicken Breast w/ Lemon and Basil

This is a great, easy recipe and low cal! It is from Biba's seasonal cookbook, although I have changed it somewhat.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice & peel of 1 lemon
Big handful of fresh basil, chopped, app. 1/4 cup, save some for garnish
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper

more fresh lemon juice to taste, added at the end

Marinate chicken w/ all ingredients for 1-2 hours. Pour it all into a large skillet over medium high heat and cook for 8-12 minutes, browning nicely. (If the breasts are small cook 8, big 12) Remove skillet from heat and add fresh lemon juice to taste. Place breasts and sauce on platter and garnish with more fresh basil.

This is delicious served with risotto and fresh brocolli or peas.

Spicy Marinara Sauce

Serves 4

1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
tsp anchovy paste (optional)
2-3 tbl olive oil
2 cans chopped tomatoes in their juice
2 tbl tomato paste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp dry basil
salt & pepper
2 tbl capers, drained (optional)
12 kalamata olives, pitted & sliced (optional)

Saute onion and garlic w/ a pinch of salt in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add anchovy paste and tomato paste and saute another couple of minutes. Add red pepper flakes, oregano and basil, and tomatoes w/ their juice (I usually process them first w/ my stick blender because your dad doesn't like junky sauce). Cook for 15-20 minutes. Add capers and olives if your using them and black pepper. Taste and correct seasonings. Serve over linguine.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Smashed potatoes

1 lb small, new potatoes like Yukon gold
water to cover

2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
3-4 tbl olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup milk
salt, pepper to taste

Place washed potatoes in a sauce pan w/water to cover. Add 1-2 tbl salt, bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to sauce pan. Smash potatoes with a potato masher and add garlic and olive oil. Add milk until you get the consistency you like. Salt and pepper to taste.

These can be reheated in the microwave.

Pork chops in mustard sauce

Serves 4

6-8 pork chops depending on size and who's eating
salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary
1-2 tbl olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1/4 cup chicken stock
1-2 tbl dijon mustard
2-3 tbl sour cream

Salt & pepper pork chops and brown in olive oil in oven-proof skillet in batches(about 3 at a time). Season w/ thyme and rosemary. Saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Season w/ salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Deglaze pan with wine and chicken stock.
Cover pan and bake for 1 hour at 350, checking after 30 minutes to make sure there is still some liquid in the pan. If not, add some stock.

Remove pork chops to platter and place skillet on stove top on low heat. Add 1-2 tbls dijon mustard and 2-3 tbl sour cream, stir to incorporate. Taste and correct seasonings, pour over pork chops.

Serve with smash potatoes or rice pilaf.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4

1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 egg, beaten
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
dash Worstershire
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
Grated parmesean

Place macaroni in a bowl and add enough milk to almost cover. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in greased oven-proof casserole and bake, covered, at 350 for 35-40 minutes.


Serves 8

1 recipe spaghetti sauce with Italian Sausage
1 lb Rotini or non-cook lasagne noodles
1 recipe bechamel
3 cups grated Parmesean Reggiano or Asiago if you're on a budget


4 Tbl butter
6Tbl flour
4 Cups or more- milk, cream, or half & half, depending on your diet
salt, pepper, fresh nutmeg

Melt butter and add flour. Cook stirring for 3 minutes, but don't let it brown. Slowly add the 1st cup of milk, stirring constantly. Add remaining milk, continuing to stir, until it comes to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add more milk, if neccessary to achieve a medium thick white sauce. Season w/ salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Faux Bechamel (for those on a diet)
3 cups of skim milk
3 Tbl cornstarch, stirred into 1/4 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
1 bay leaf
salt, pepper, nutmeg

Bring milk to a simmer and, off heat, add cornstarch dissolved in wine. Add bay leaf and seasonings. Return to heat and bring back to boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove bay leaf

If you're using the Rotini cook it for about 5 minutes til al dente. If you're using the non-cook lasagne noodles, thin out the spaghetti sauce because they'll suck up the liquid. Spray a casserole with Pam or grease w/ olive oil. Start w/ a little sauce and make 3 or more layers of pasta, bechamel, spaghetti sauce & cheese. Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. (You could add a layer of sauteed spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini to this also.)